a shower poem
I started formulating a poem in the shower
curled in fetal position on the floor
staring at a singular drop of condensation
while mouthing the words to a sad song.
Every word contorted my face
into a million strained expressions
lips and eyes bursting at the seams
until I blinked just wrong
stopped dead in the middle of the line
and said to myself,
“That face wasn’t believable
You can do it better than that”
and started the verse over.
Isn’t that the most psychotic thing
you’ve ever heard? and I said it –
and now I’m turning it into a poem.
The words changed after that.
I don’t recall most of what
I told myself to remember except
“I should be better than this.”
I was a good person when I was eight.
I cared about others more than myself
projecting my feet into their shoes
and trying on their glasses for size.
I’m not sure whether I really felt nicer then
or whether I shoved everything so far down
I could barely feel it steaming
until I expelled it like shrapnel.
These days I lose every game of mafia
because my ears burn red at each lie,
a walking polygraph for the public’s perusal.
Compulsive honesty isn’t as fun as its alternative.
My therapist keeps talking about “boundaries”
but that always seemed like a cheap excuse
to avoid the kindness we owe each other
and to not give anything of yourself.
If being fourteen taught me anything,
it’s that only mean people want walls.
I am now trying to fill myself up with a strainer
but it still feels like a cheap excuse.
I think I am a bad person now.
To be a bad person as a Christian
is actually quite good –
it’s an important paradox.
To feel like a bad person is to
love God even more for loving you
but I think I’m being bad the wrong way
because being a worse person
doesn’t make me love God more.
It just makes me feel worse
about being a bad person.
I don’t care if I’m loved;
I just want to be good.
Good people don’t push away
the people who love them,
so if I am good I won’t feel guilty
that I only have the strength
to bruise them and not to move them
and I won’t feel guilty
that they love me
too much to leave.
Sometimes they remark,
“It’s nice to hear you singing again,”
and I clam back up for seventeen days.
All this to say:
I finished my shower
and left the bathroom
grabbed this notebook
quietly crept past my sleeping sister
and opened the door to
my housemate sitting at
an otherwise empty kitchen table.
I am back in the bathroom
writing down the poem
I formulated in the shower.
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